Saturday, March 27, 2010
I like to read articles on Witchvox from time to time, and I came across a wonderful article on the Primordial Goddess, that I wanted to share. I did not post the whole article, as it is quite long, but I will post a link at the end so you can read the rest. Please read the rest, its really a fantastic article! Enjoy:
As we know, the Sumerians developed writing around 3200 BCE, and that marks the earliest point when we might receive any direct information from people who actually lived during that period. However, since the Kurgan invasion occurred from approximately 4000-2000 BCE, nearly all of our historical knowledge comes from a chaotic, post-Kurgan, polytheistic world... indeed, the vast majority of it is later than the Trojan War, and comes to us only through the Greeks and Romans. My topic in this essay concerns the primordial Great Mother Goddess... a story that began long before techniques of writing came into existence. In order to gain an understanding of that distant time, we must rely entirely on archeology; the examination of whatever remaining artifacts we can find.
The artifacts generally include the ruins of buildings, possessions such as pottery and tools, art objects, grave goods, and of course human and animal remains. As a science, archeology is a relatively recent phenomenon, having begun in earnest only a few centuries ago. Naturally, early attempts to recover the artifacts were clumsy at best. Precious objects were often destroyed by careless excavations, improper preservation, and looting. The total number of researchers involved in archeology was relatively low, and methods of recording and transferring data were tedious and unreliable.
Modern archeological techniques have greatly improved. There are far more people working in the field today, and the capability of computers to store and transfer data has made it possible for experts located virtually anywhere on Earth to collaborate. In addition, new technologies such as carbon dating, electron microscopes, ground-penetrating radar and DNA analysis are providing us with a wealth of insights and discoveries. Yet what has remained perhaps the most critical problem facing archeologists is the interpretation of the evidence. All too often, they allow their own cultural biases and preconceived ideas to color their work, and seem to find it very difficult to admit that certain long-held and commonly accepted beliefs may be wrong. Fear of ridicule and damage to their reputation frequently causes them to resist change, until a clear consensus develops in its favor.
True progress, on the other hand, has always depended upon people with foresight, and the courage to take a controversial stand... and Gordon Childe was just such a man. Born in Australia in 1892, Childe attended Oxford and spent most of his life in the UK. During the course of his career of roughly thirty years, he completely revolutionized our understanding of pre-history, and ultimately became the single most influential archeologist of the early 20th century. Unlike anyone before him, Childe presented an overview of human development, rather than merely a detailed description of some particular culture. Through a series of over 20 books, he established three key concepts, which today form the basis for our understanding of the pre-history of the western world. First, Childe demonstrated that the origins of human civilization were in the Near East, a fact that had been somewhat in dispute prior to that time. Second, Childe demonstrated that, following the end of the last ice-age (circa 10, 000 BCE) Europe was re-populated by people from the Near East, who introduced techniques of agriculture, the domestication of animals, woven fabrics, etc.
This was the true beginning of the civilization of Europe. Finally, Childe established that an invasion of Europe by people from western Russia and the Ukraine occurred around 4000-2000 BCE. He referred to these invaders as Proto-Indo-Europeans. They were a patriarchal warrior society, who followed a violent male god, practiced human sacrifice, believed in an after-life, and conducted elaborate burials in large mounds of earth called kurgans. Childe's work was based entirely on an examination of artifacts and linguistic evidence. However, since that time, a large number of new discoveries have been made which clearly confirm his findings. And in addition to his brilliant technical work, he will also be remembered as a man who made archeology more accessible to ordinary people, with such wonderful books as "Man Makes Himself" (1936) and "What Happened in History" (1942) . Another well-known archeologist who played a major role in changing the world's views of pre-history was Jacquetta Hawkes. Born in the UK in 1910, she attended Newnham College in Cambridge. It was there that she met her first husband, Christopher Hawkes, a working archeologist. She began to join him on digs, and although not afraid to get her hands dirty, it soon became clear that her greatest talent was her insightful and humanistic interpretation of evidence, and her eloquent style of communicating.
While working in the UK early on, she took special notice of a pattern of goddess-worship at Neolithic sites. Over time, she began to focus on the social and cultural role divisions resulting from gender, and questioned the belief that men had always been the dominant members of a community, while women were presumed to have merely played a secondary role. Yet, it was not until Hawkes started to explore the fabulous legacy of the Minoan civilization of Crete, that she found overwhelming evidence of a society in which women clearly played a leading role... and indeed, a society that was incredibly successful, peaceful and artistic. Through a remarkable series of books, newspaper and magazine articles, lectures, and radio and TV interviews, Hawkes demonstrated the existence of early gender-egalitarian cultures and primordial goddess-worship to the public, in ways that simply could not be ignored. Although her work was controversial at the time, and was occasionally dismissed as "feminist fantasy", Jacquetta Hawkes remained steadfast and outspoken.
Over time, new discoveries began to confirm her theories, and fortunately she lived long enough to receive some of the recognition and honors that she deserved. Archeologists Gordon Childe and Jacquetta Hawkes had the intelligence and insight to see beyond the mistaken presumptions of their peers, at a time when the evidence available to them was quite limited. However, if the archeological community needed indisputable proof, it was James Mellaart who would supply it... in an overwhelming quantity. Born in London in 1925, Mellaart seemed to posses a natural instinct for finding hidden ancient sites. Early in his career he made several amazing discoveries, including a large cache of bronze-age artifacts on Cypress, and a fully intact tomb in Jericho. Later, while wandering through the Turkish backcountry alone in 1956, he discovered the Neolithic site of Hacilar, which contained figurines suggestive of the Great Mother Goddess Cybele. Yet it was Mellaarts next discovery that would become the final catalyst for fundamental changes in the view of pre-history, throughout the entire archeological community.
In 1961, James Mellaart began the excavation of Catal Hoyuk, a site that would eventually be recognized as the most well-preserved Neolithic city that has ever been found. Here was a window into a world 9000 years removed from our own... agriculture, the domestication of animals, houses with built-in cooking ovens, pottery, woven fabrics, jewelry, mirrors made of polished black obsidian, stone knives and other tools... and best of all, from a spiritual standpoint, there were the shrines. A very high percentage of the houses contained shrines, and hundreds of carved figurines were found, of what undeniably was the primordial Great Mother Goddess, whom we now call Cybele.
Read the rest here: Witchvox: The Primordial Goddess
Picture courtesy of FreeWebs.com
Posted by Tara at 7:37 AM
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The spring equinox, also known as Ostara, takes place around March 21. It is a time where the light is equal to the darkness and from here on out the days grow longer. This sabbat represents a time for rebirth in nature and in our own lives. Ostara is the Germanic Goddess of Spring, another name for her is Eostre. In ancient times, this was a time of year for fertility, which is where the symbols of the eggs and rabbits comes from. Rabbits are known to mate many times throughout this season, and female rabbits are known to have many litters of babies during this time, which is why the rabbit is such a strong symbol for the fertility of Spring.
There ane many different ways to celebrate the Spring Goddess. You can do a ritual in her honor, plant seeds of beautiful spring flowers, or try to start a new in your own life. Another symbol for rebirth is the labyrinth, you can make one of these, and walk it to symbolize finding your center. A labyrinth can also symbolize the cycles of life and nature, since your life never goes in one direction, so to the labyrinth will take you on a journey to help you find your center. I tried my hand at making a labyrinth, and it can be alot of fun! You can make a permanent one or a non permanent one. Either by planting seeds in a labyrinth pattern, using salt to make the pattern so you can brush it away when your finished, or however else you think would be appropriate. I actually took a big king size sheet, and drew the labyrinth on there, then I painted over the lines to make them stand out more, make it your own and personalize it. I wanted a permanent labyrinth, so that way we could walk it every year at Ostara.
When walking your labyrinth, walk in a slow meditative state, and contemplate your life and any changes or rebirth you plan to do this coming year. Once you get to the center, you turn around and come out the same way you went in, make sure not to step over any of the lines. You can get a little dizzy when walking it, so if that is the case just stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and start again.
Here you will find step by step instructions for making your labyrinth : How to make a labyrinth
For your altar on the Ostara, you should have a yellow candle, spring flowers, green and yellow crystals or stones, plastic or real eggs to represent fertility and anything else that represents the rebirth of Spring to you.
For more information on Ostara check out: Goddess Vision
Enjoy your Ostara and your life renewal!
Posted by Tara at 12:49 PM
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Today starts the month of the Alder tree on the Celtic calender, it goes from March 18 - April 14. The Alder tree was a sacred tree to the Faeries, in particular the Dark Faeries who are very protective of the tree. When they need to leave their beloved tree they are said to take the form of Ravens. The Alder is known as the "fairy's tree" in Celtic lore, so it's good for fairy magic. The faeries are said to dance under the trees when they are flowering.
The month of Alder is a great time for magic concerning spiritual decisions, prophecy and divination, teaching and protection. It is also useful for finding strength from within and conquering inner difficulties. A great time for some soul searching.
Alder wood is often called the "wood of the witches". It was often used it make magical pipes, flutes or whistles for use in sacred rituals. To honor the month of Alder, celebrate the spring equinox Ostara which falls on March 21.
Posted by Tara at 10:47 AM
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I recently finished reading the book, Walking an Ancient Path by Karen Tate and I found it very interesting and eye opening. The first part of this book talks about the authors travels to sacred Goddess destinations around the world. There are many more than you might think and some are in places you probably wouldn't even think to look. She starts on her journey to Egypt and then eventually makes it to Ireland, Crete, Turkey, Rome and Jordan among others. Each time she visits one of these sacred locations, she performs a ritual honoring the Goddess of that particular place. She really soaked in every sacred Goddess location fully. Such a life changing experience it must have been!
In the rest of the book, she basically gives a little background on the Goddess and herself. She explains how she became ordained as a priestess in Ireland. She also goes into detail about various rituals to the Goddess that she performed in California, her home town. She studied the way the ancient rituals were actually performed, and then implemented those ideas into a modern form of each ritual. She gives information on a few "temples" in the western part of the US, including, Nevada, California and Delaware. She is so incredibly involved in the Goddess community and such a Goddess advocate, that anyone starting out on the Goddess path should read one of her books. She has another book titled Sacred Places of the Goddess 108 Destinations
Check out her website here: Karen Tate
This book is a must read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Goddess worship around the world.
Posted by Tara at 2:15 PM
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Crafting the perfect spell for your need can take some time and thought. A spell is more than just wanting something and wishing it so. The words you choose have meaning and you need to choose them wisely. The saying "Be careful what you wish for" holds true with crafting spells. I prefer to do all of my spellwork on a full moon because the energy at this time is strong, but everyone is different and you need to figure out which phase of the moon works best for you. Try doing a few spells on different phases of the moon and see how it turns out.
Before any magical workings, take some time a few days before to think and prepare for it. Really think about what it is that you want, and be specific. For example, if you are wishing for a new job, if you just do a spell to "get a new job" it might work, but everything else you want out of that job may not be what you were looking for. Sit down with a pen and paper, and write down everything you want out of that job, details are very important. Lets say your list goes something like this :
new good job
not too far from home
stable work environment
Now that you have written down exactly what you want out of this new job, you can begin to craft the perfect spell. Some people dont feel its necessary to rhyme your spells, I do for a couple of different reasons. First, sometimes when words rhyme, they can be easier to remember. Second, when reciting your spell and the words rhyme, you get into a rhythm and it really flows nicely. You dont have to be a master poet to rhyme, just do the best you can. I am certainly not a poet, but all of my spells rhyme for the added benefit. Of course as with any magic, the most important thing is your intent, but everything else that goes along with it will just help your spell to stick. Also make sure that after every spell, you end it with some sort of closing that will lock the spell in. Like "So mote it be" or "And so it is", find your own, whatever feels comfortable to you.
Now that you have crafted your perfect spell, wait for the right time to do it. Make sure you do it on the phase of the moon that works best. If you wish to use crystals, incense or anything else to help your spell along it always helps. As always make sure and sage yourself and your area before doing any magic. Good luck on your spell crafting journey!
Photo courtesy of Wicca Spells
Posted by Tara at 6:54 AM